Disclaimer: The following is a sponsored post by CreditRepair.com.
The years following college graduation are some of the most pivotal years of your life. This is the time where the decisions you make now can drastically change your life years later.
Here’s a great example we can look at. Woman #1 graduates from college at 25 and starts putting $100 toward retirement. Woman #2 waits to start putting money toward retirement until she’s 35. Woman #1 is going to have TWICE as much money in retirement versus woman #2. Let that sink in.
Or how about having a poor credit score your whole life instead of a good credit score? A bad credit score can cost you up to $45,000. If you have a good credit score, that’s up to $45,000 in savings.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make sound financial and career decisions after graduating from college. The sooner you start taking these steps below, the better.
Get started now by reading these 7 steps below. These steps will make sure you’re successful after college in both your personal and business life.
1. Start saving for retirement
The best time to start investing was yesterday. The second best time is now. The sooner you start investing, the better.
Unfortunately, investing and retirement isn’t taught in high school or in most colleges, which is why it’s crucial you teach yourself. The great news is this is totally doable for free. You can rent library books on retirement and investing and learn everything you need to know.
Here are my favorite investing & retirement resources that helped me get started:
- Work Optional
- Broke Millennial Takes On Investing
- The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
- When Should You Start Saving For Retirement?
For many, graduating from college is the time where many people get their first job. Many jobs offer incredible benefits including a retirement match, which is essentially free money.
People in their twenties usually aren’t thinking about their life decades away, however, now that you know how important time is when it comes to investing and saving for retirement, you can make a sound financial decision and start saving ASAP.
2. Create a budget you can stick to
There’s one question I receive in my inbox more than any other, “Alexis, how do I create a budget and actually stick to it?”.
Budgets don’t stick if you don’t have a concrete plan, and that goes for any goal. I failed at my budgets for months because I didn’t have a motivating reason to stick to the budget and I didn’t check in with my budget often.
The key to sticking to your budget is by doing regular check-ins with your budget app or planner. I use the app EveryDollar and it’s been my go-to for 1 year now. I check in with my budget at least twice a week and recommend at least once a week.
Here are my favorite budget resources:
- Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By And Get Your Financial Life Together
- The Financial Diet: The Beginner’s Guide To Getting Good With Money
Once you start creating your budget, take out things you don’t necessarily need every month like new clothes, cosmetics, etc. You should also lower your regular expenses like your cell phone, cable, and internet bill. These are all negotiable.
Billshark is who I used to lower my T-Mobile and internet bill. Billshark works by negotiators calling your bill company and negotiating to lower your bill. However much money Billshark saves you, they take 40%. It may be a hefty fee for some, but to me, it’s worth the savings.
P.S. You can get my budget planner for free just for being a reader of my blog. 🙂 I created budget printables after graduating from college and paying off $40,000 in debt. I wanted to make something that was accessible to everyone and could help people get started taking charge of their finances right away.
3. Check your credit score
54% of Americans never check their credit scores. Without knowing your credit score, you could potentially be in the bad credit score range which can cost tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.
This is because someone with a lower credit score is going to potentially pay more in:
- Mortgage loan interest rates
- Credit card interest rates
- Car loan interest rates
- Security deposits
- Higher insurance premiums
Having a low credit score can also hurt your chances of landing a job. With 47% of employers checking an applicant’s credit score and history during the interview process, that’s not a risk you want to take.
A poor credit score can also hurt your chances of getting accepted into a rental agreement. A landlord who sees a poor credit score may think the person is not responsible and cannot pay bills on time.
Fortunately, getting this information doesn’t hurt your credit score and you can find out for free. You can go to CreditRepair.com and get a free credit consultation, credit report summary, and game plan to improve your credit score.
4. Improve your credit score
As we learned earlier, taking your credit score from the bad range to a good range can save you up to $45,000 in your lifetime. This is why you must take action to improve your credit score.
Go to CreditRepair.com and get a free 10-minute credit analysis to see where you stand on your credit score.
This is CreditRepair.com’s easy process:
- Check your credit for questionable negative items.
- Challenge those items with all three bureaus. Apply pressure if necessary.
- Send letters to your creditors, asking them to prove what they’re reporting.
Removing negative items is one of the quickest ways to increase your credit score.
Get started with CreditRepair.com here and get a gameplan for creating a positive financial future.
5. Create a solid resume
Your resume is your marketing tool which means it needs to stand out and impress the potential employer.
Spend a lot of time perfecting your resume and then send it out to a few friends or family who’ve landed great jobs. They can critique your resume and help you improve in certain places.
Free resources for building a resume:
6. Make a student loan debt pay off plan
One of the most important steps on this list is creating a solid student loan plan. You can potentially save thousands of dollars in interest just by paying your loans a few years sooner instead of taking 20 or 30 years to pay them off.
Here’s a great example from Nerd Wallet. If a student has a $30,000 student loan with a 5.8% interest rate, that student would pay about $8,6000 in interest within 10 years.
I graduated with roughly $15,000 in student loans and saved up money throughout college to pay off the interest and principle. Fortunately, I was running this blog in college and made enough money to pay off my loans when I graduated. Not everyone can do that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a smart plan to pay off yours.
How to create a student loan debt pay off plan:
- Create and STICK to your budget. Student loan debt should be a category in your budget.
- Start a side hustle and put that money toward your student loan debt.
- Set up automatic payments and you may qualify for a small discount.
- Cut your spending while you’re paying off debt (buy fewer clothes, eat out at restaurants less and learn how to cook at home, etc.).
7. Gain experience
One of the best ways to increase your career options and salary is by gaining experience. Gaining experience lets you learn new skills, meet new people, and explore different fields of work. If I didn’t volunteer at a seniors with disabilities home, I would’ve never had a 6-year job history in the special needs field.
You can gain experience by
- Volunteering through programs on VolunteerMatch.org.
- Networking at conferences and meetups in your community
A huge resume booster is having experience and if you’re fresh out of college, that may be slim. If your future job requires you to have experience, you can do this by getting an internship, volunteering at various places, and even networking by going to local meetups that you can find on Meetups.com.
You might’ve not learned about these important steps in high school or college, but now you know them and can take action.
A quick recap of today is:
- Start saving for retirement
- Create a budget you can stick to
- Check your credit score
- Improve your credit score
- Create a solid resume
- Make a student loan debt payoff plan
- Gain experience
And remember, you can find out your credit score for FREE at CreditRepair.com and find out whether or not you have a good credit score. With a bad credit score, you’re hurting your chances of getting approved for a mortgage, securing good rates on a car loan, and more.
There’s even a fun interactive quiz that shows you how much you can save with your credit score.
What steps have you taken so far after graduating?
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